Chicken Chronicles I
Welcome to the Chicken Chronicles- I thought it would be a little bit of fun to have a series chronicling our adventure of raising chickens. I was a little hesitant about having creatures I need to feed and water every morning and night no matter the weather. But, I hoped it would ground me and force me to get outdoors each day. It used to be the standard for many American homes to have a chicken or two wandering about and I decided the beauty of it would hopefully outweigh the negatives. I couldn't shake the idyllic picture of chickens happily wandering in my backyard (it's okay if you're laughing right now ;). I wanted to try it out without over complicating it! So here goes nothing.
My husband and I have tossed around the idea of having chickens for a few years. I care a lot about where our food comes from and the idea of having fresh eggs that came from healthy free ranging chickens in my backyard sounded like a win. It truly was just a far out pipe dream originally because we lived on a little square lot in town where zoning laws don't allow for chickens. But, two years ago we were really excited to move to a home with about 5 acres outside of town that gave us some space to breathe and made some homesteading ideas we had an actual possibility. The house and property needed some love though. Between projects, life, and our little kiddos we just hadn't had bandwidth to dive into the chicken endeavor the first two years here.
But this year? What better time to get chickens and learn how to care for them than when you're quarantined? Apparently, we aren't unique in this thought pattern as I saw that hatcheries were selling out of chicks at a crazy rate as many Americans had the same idea. We grabbed our chicks in the middle of March. I meant to write this post then. But here I am, 2 months later!
We made the plunge right before official quarantine because we weren't sure if they would be available later. I'm really glad we did! We didn't yet have a coop or know where we were going to keep them after they were 6 weeks. Six weeks sounded like plenty of time to figure it out. I had read plenty of blogs and articles on how to take care of chickens. I finally decided I could figure it out as we go, and the woman at the shop was truly amazing and told us more than I could remember about taking care and raising chicks. It was awesome. I didn't really need to know anything other than what she told me to get started. She pointed us in the right direction and they had all the items we needed to care for chicks. The kids and I picked out our favorite chicks. For any chicken people out there- we left with 3 Red Comets, 2 Americaunas, and 2 Barred Rock. So, seven chicks (because 5 seemed like too few and 10 too many), one heat lamp, one bag of pine shavings, one feeder, one water dispenser, and one 50lb bag of starter feed later, we were headed home.
My kiddos, 2 and 4, were over the moon with the little chicks. I was really excited that we were finally doing it! I mean... baby chicks are truly adorable. I have to be honest though- taking care of baby chicks was a little chaotic with my kids because while I was cleaning their bedding, giving them fresh water and food,(the chicks, not the children) I was also trying to keep the chicks safe from well intentioned but sometimes scary little hands. The chicks were sooo cute, so fluffy, so easy to hold. I kept reminding myself to enjoy their fluffiness as I knew it wouldn't last long.
We kept them in our sun room and I loved hearing their sweet little chirping and watching their little bodies huddled together at night under the heat lamp breathing deep and slowly. I would just peak in on them at night and watch them for a bit before bed. That lasted about a week. By end of week two they were looking like awkward little teenage chicks and were a bit more resistant to being held and adored. (See photo for week old chicks!) I'm very much regretting I didn't grab many photos of these guys! Stay tuned for the next Chicken Chronicles II !